Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez was selected by Austin FC in the MLS Waiver Draft on Thursday, meaning the Texas team can now offer him a contract and will retain the right of first-refusal on any MLS deal. The Sounders had previously declined his option for 2023.
Ocampo-Chavez first joined the Sounders organization in 2017 when he was recruited out of Merced, Calif. He made his Sounders 2 debut later that year as a 14-year-old while playing for the Academy. In 2018, he continued to stand out with the Academy and earned a USL contract. The Sounders signed him to an MLS contract in 2019 after a starring performance at the GA Cup; he followed that up with a standout performance for the United States during U17 World Cup qualifying and closed out the year by scoring six goals for the Tacoma Defiance in the USL Championship. He seemed well on his way to possible stardom.
But then the pandemic hit and that seemed to badly derail Ocampo-Chavez’s progress. He only ended up making 13 appearances with Defiance, six of which came off the bench. He had just one goal and two assists.
In 2021, he was sent on loan to Austrian third-division side FC Pinzgau Saalfelden and scored one goal. He had two more goals in 10 appearances with Defiance, but had a second straight year of zero MLS minutes.
With the Defiance’s move to MLS Next Pro, Ocampo-Chavez finally started to flash some of his previous form. He started out the season very strong, with seven goals in his first eight games, but then only scored two over the final 17 matches and none in his final eight.
Still just 20, there’s still time for Ocampo-Chavez to make good on the promise he once showed and a fresh start may be just what he needs. But it was becoming increasingly obvious that it was not going to happen for him with the Sounders.